Patna Pirates and Bengaluru Bulls played out an exciting 29-29 tie at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Wednesday. Monu Goyat managed a game-high 11 points for Patna, while Rohit Kumar was Bengaluru’s top scorer with nine points.
Patna started the match in confident fashion, picking up four points before Bengaluru managed to get on the scoreboard. The Bulls grew into the contest after picking up their first point of the evening with skipper Rohit unsettling Patna’s defence with incisive raids. Dubki King Pardeep Narwal though wasn’t about to be upstaged by Rohit and pulled off some swift raids of his own before Bengaluru’s defence finally tackled him to make it 7-7 after 10 minutes.
Two super tackles in quick succession by Patna gave the reigning champions 9-7 and 11-9 leads, which didn’t last long as Rohit picked away at Patna’s defence one man at a time to inflict the first All-Out of the match and give Bengaluru a 14-11 lead. The Pirates did force themselves back into the game before half-time but the southerners still took a slender 18-16 advantage into the break.
The Bulls picked up the first point of the second period and defended as well as raided with conviction for the most part of the third quarter to take a narrow 24-23 lead into the last 10 minutes of the encounter. Both sides then decided to rely on do-or-die raids for points as the match approached its conclusion with Bengaluru still keeping their one-point lead intact.
With the game resting on a knife’s edge, Bengaluru tackled Pardeep, while Ajay Kumar scored a crucial raid point for the Bulls to make it 28-25 in the 38th minute. Undeterred, Patna demonstrated the mettle of champions in the penultimate minute and took the lead courtesy of a two-point raid from Goyat following some astute defending from his side. A bonus point by Sunil Jaipal in Bengaluru’s final raid, however, tied the contest as the teams shared the spoils. Bengaluru now bow out of the league having failed to qualify for the play-offs, while Patna now look ahead to the play-offs after finishing second in Zone B.
Check out our snapshots from this match here.